PORT ALICE—Council approved a revised Memorandum of Understanding between Brookfield Residential and the Village at last week’s meeting.
An original MoU was signed between the two parties in the spring. A later review highlighted potential problems with the agreement, which would see the Village responsible for the upkeep of an access road to the project.
In May the original agreement was rescinded when the council learned that the access road would run over a flood plain.
Council heard that the amended agreement removed the provisions for the access road and reduced the dollar figure associated.
Administrator Madeline McDonald pointed out that the Village had always planned to work with the Regional District to perform the improvements, but the MoU itself must be with the Village.
“This is still a win-win for us,” said Mayor Jan Allen.
The council accepted the revised MoU.
The council agreed to forge ahead on the replacement of the overflow culvert on Marine Drive after receiving a quote from Herold Engineering.
However, Administrator McDonald was given the nod to negotiate with the company on its pricing before work commences.
With a narrowing window for the work to be done — and fewer council meetings over the summer — the councillors needed to reach a decision on the quote at the last meeting.
“We should move ahead,” said Mayor Allen. “If it’s not done by the end of September we’ll miss our window and [then] we may as well wait for next year.”
The quoted price was a sticking point, however.
McDonald assured council that there were funds in reserve for the project and asked for council’s approval to move ahead with the project with the understanding that she would try and negotiate a lower price from the firm.
Council approved her request.
In the Administrator’s Report, McDonald informed council on progress dealing with unsightly properties in the Village.
A clean-up order was issued on a property on Matsqui Avenue last fall. The property remained derelict, leading to the Village sending in a contractor to deal with the yard and billing the owner.
“After the clean-up, the house looks in disrepair,” said McDonald. She recommended that the qualified inspector go in and survey the property to determine if the property represents a public health hazard.
Council approved the recommendation.
Councillors clarified some of the rules around Permissive Tax Exemptions after Treasurer Gail Lind presented a draft of the public notice.
Mayor Allen pointed out that, in order to gain tax-exempt status, organizations had to be not-for-profit, for the good of the community and open to all the community. Certain organizations, she noted, while certainly benefitting the community, had membership policies which excluded some.
Lind pointed out that the rules in question related to statutory approval for tax-exemption. Council had discretionary power to grant permissive exemption if they felt that it was warranted.
On another note, Lind informed Council that she was looking into the financials of those who were claiming not-for-profit status.
“I don’t think we’re asking for anything unreasonable,” said the Mayor. “If they aren’t willing to present their financials they shouldn’t get tax exemption.”
The council voted to repeal Bylaw 604 as part of good housekeeping practices.
The bylaw was approved in 2007 after a referendum and grants approval for the Village to borrow funds for the construction of a commercial marina and to make improvements to the sewer treatment plant.
Having gone unused for over five years, Lind recommended that the councillors repeal the bylaw and remove access to the approved debt. The treasurer pointed out that, despite remaining unused, the access to the funds could still hamper future borrowing efforts, as underwriters would be wary of the risk of overextension.
Councillors agreed with Lind’s assessment, noting the projects were no longer on the books. The Bylaw Repeal was granted first, second and third readings.